Policy Reminder December 2018 - Sexual Harassment Policy

Policy Reminder December 2018 - Sexual Harassment Policy

PURPOSE & SCOPE
Springbrook is firmly committed to maintaining a work environment free from harassment of any kind, including sexual harassment and harassment based on race, color, religion, creed, sex, age, national origin or citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, handicap/disability, genetic predisposition or carrier status, religious or political beliefs, or any other status or characteristic protected by law. Springbrook will not tolerate harassment of any of its employees, whether by other employees (managers, supervisors, or co-workers), vendors, visitors, residents, or families. 

POLICY
Sexual Harassment 
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. It is illegal under both federal and state law. 
Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature when:

1) Submission to such conduct is made a condition of getting or keeping a job; getting a promotion, a raise, or some other job benefit; or avoiding an adverse job consequence (such as being fired or demoted); or
2) The conduct is so severe or pervasive that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with job performance or creating a hostile, intimidating, or abusive working environment.

No manager or supervisor may threaten or suggest, either explicitly or implicitly, that an employee’s submission to or rejection of sexual advances will in any way influence any decision regarding that employee's continued employment, performance evaluation, compensation, advancement, assigned duties, status in the workplace, or other terms or conditions of employment. 

In addition, Springbrook will not tolerate a sexually hostile work environment. Examples of conduct that is not permitted by Springbrook because it may create a sexually hostile environment include, but are not limited to:

  • Unwelcome touching or other physical contacts.
  • Sexual looks or gestures.
  • Commentary about an individual’s body.
  • Using sexually offensive or demeaning words to describe or address an individual.
  • Whistles, catcalls, leering, staring, or “elevator eyes.” Making suggestive or insulting gestures.
  • Making unwelcome, profane, or offensive sexual jokes or using profane or offensive language or epithets. Making unwelcome requests for sexual favors.
  • Referring to an adult as a “boy”, “girl,” “hunk,” “doll,” “babe,” “honey,” etc.
  • Making unwelcome or repeated requests for dates or other social engagements.
  • Displaying sexually suggestive or offensive items or pictures in the workplace (posters, calendars, photos, cartoons, objects).
  • Asking questions about sexual conduct or relationships.
  • Creating an atmosphere of sexual intimidation.

 

Sexual harassment can come from people of the same or opposite sex. Men, as well as women, can be either the victims or perpetrators of sexual harassment. New York Law protects employees, paid or unpaid interns, and non-employees, including independent contractors.
Unlawful sexual harassment is not limited to the physical workplace itself. It can occur while employees are traveling for business or at employer-sponsored events or parties. Calls, texts, emails, and social media usage by employees can constitute unlawful workplace harassment, even if they occur away from the workplace premises, on personal devices or during non-work hours.

Other Forms of Harassment 
Springbrook is committed to keeping the work environment free from other forms of harassment, such as harassment based on race, color, religion, creed, age, national origin or citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, handicap/disability, genetic predisposition or carrier status, or religious or political beliefs. Springbrook will not tolerate harassing conduct or a hostile work environment based on any of the above statuses. 
“Harassment” can consist either of a single incident of serious misconduct or a number of incidents, each of which alone might not be enough to constitute “harassment,” but which together form a pattern of inappropriate conduct. “Harassment” can include material, comments, gestures, or conduct intended to be friendly or humorous. 
Prohibited conduct includes:

  • Making unwelcome comments about a person’s clothing, body, or personal life.
  • Using offensive nicknames, epithets, or terms of affection.
  • Making offensive jokes or displaying offensive literature.
  • Engaging in “bullying” or offensive “teasing.”
  • Engaging in unwanted physical contact, physical intimidation, or assault.
  • Racist or otherwise offensive magazines, pictures, books, conversations, or comments.
  • Suggesting that an individual’s race, color, age, disability, or any other protected status affects his or her job, the chance of promotion, performance evaluations, or working conditions.
  • Making threats to another person in words, gestures, or pictures.
  • Other conduct, even if acceptable to some staff members, which creates a working environment that may be considered by others to be offensive or hostile.

 

These are examples only and are not intended to be all-inclusive.

Complaint Procedure 
If you believe you are being harassed, you should immediately, if you are comfortable in doing so, tell the offending party to stop the unwelcome behavior and contact your immediate supervisor. If your immediate supervisor is the offending party, you should notify any other supervisor or Human Resources. Supervisors must report the unwelcome conduct to their Department Director and Human Resources. The employee should complete the Notice of Harassment/Discrimination Complaint Form, but completion of the form is not mandatory—the complaint may be reported verbally. 
Investigation 
Springbrook will promptly investigate all complaints of harassment and will take prompt and appropriate corrective action. Employees are required to cooperate with any harassment investigation. Employees who are determined to have violated this policy will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment. Violation of this policy also may lead to personal legal and financial liability. Sexual harassment is unlawful and may subject Springbrook to liability. 
If you make an allegation of harassment, Springbrook will keep your identity confidential to the extent possible. Keep in mind, however, that it may be necessary to disclose your identity in order to investigate your complaint. 
Retaliation Prohibited 
Springbrook prohibits retaliation against any employee for bringing a complaint of harassment, supporting a complaint made by another employee, or participating in an investigation. If you believe you are being punished for complaining about unwelcome conduct, you should immediately inform your supervisor, any other supervisor or Employee Relations/Human Resources. Examples of retaliation include: Being given a poor performance review or discipline because of making a complaint; being reassigned to a less desirable shift because of making a statement during an investigation; being subject to verbal or physical abuse because of making a complaint. Any employee who violates the non-retaliation provisions of this policy will be disciplined, up to and including termination of employment. 
Springbrook expects all of its employees to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect. Springbrook considers workplace harassment in any form to be a very serious matter and expects employees to take this matter seriously as well. Accordingly, any individual who knowingly and intentionally makes a false accusation of harassment against another individual

for the purpose of harming, embarrassing, or retaliating against that individual will be subject to disciplinary action.

Legal Protections and External Remedies 
Sexual harassment is not only prohibited by Springbrook, but is also prohibited by state, federal, and, where applicable, local law. 
Aside from the internal process at Springbrook, employees may also choose to pursue legal remedies with the following governmental entities. While a private attorney is not required to file a complaint with a governmental agency, you may seek the legal advice of an attorney.

State Human Rights Law (HRL) 
The HRL applies to all employers in New York State with regard to sexual harassment, and protects employees, paid or unpaid interns, and non-employees, regardless of immigration status. These complaints may be filed either with the Division of Human Rights (DHR) or in New York State Supreme Court. Complaints filed with the DHR must be filed within one year of the alleged conduct giving rise to the complaint. Complaints filed in the New York Supreme Court must be commenced within three years of the alleged conduct giving rise to the complaint.

Civil Rights Act of 1964 (CRA) 
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII of the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act. If an individual filed an administrative complaint with the DHR, DHR will file the complaint with the EEOC to preserve the right to proceed in federal court. A complaint filed with the EEOC must be filed within 300 days of the alleged conduct giving rise to the complaint. 
Contact information for the DHR and the EEOC may be found on the posters located in the workplace, or by contacting Human Resources.

Local Protections 
Many localities enforce laws protecting individuals from sexual harassment and discrimination. An individual should contact the county, city, or town in which they live to find out is such a law exists.

Contact the Local Police Department 
If the harassment involves unwanted physical touching, coerced physical confinement or coerced sex acts, the conduct may constitute a crime. Contact the local police department.

Questions concerning the application and interpretation of Springbrook’s Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment Policy should be directed to the Human Resources Department.

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